tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 18, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
>> blaine harden gets tonight's "last word." thanks very much for joining us tonight. >> thank you. chris hayes is up next. bullying the witnesses? let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. let me start tonight with this. at new year's he was the top republican in the country, the favorite, actually, to take on hillary clinton for the next american presidency. well, last night we discussed reports that new york port authority police themselves told drivers back in that september jam-up to blame the ft. lee mayor for the severe traffic problem. in the midst of these reports, governor christie pretends to probe the scandal himself that has bumped him from the front-runner spot. he poses as someone urgently
seeking the truth, desperately trying to determine who it was that would let his people in his office, his appointees on the bridge authority itself to do all that they apparently agreed to do, take out their anger on thousands of commuters who would then take out their anger on a local mayor. well, believing governor chris christie who mocked this investigation from day one has morphed into some kind of dick tracy interested in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but requires a level of gullibility that we haven't seen since o.j. simpson told us of his single minded determination to find the real killer, or when richard nixon assigned john dean to find out why someone broke out into the democratic headquarters at the watergate. it explains at least to me why first the mayor of hoboken and now the mayor of ft. lee have refused to let christie's lawyer dig into their documents and possible testimony down the road. why would they, of all people fall for the ridiculous argument that governor christie's out
there trying to find the real culprit when he himself is the appointor in chief to every one of the people involved in the deliberate bridge jam-up itself? don't forget, what ties wildstein and baroni and stepien and bridget kelly together is that they're all people picked by chris christie. does anyone really believe he still doesn't know what they were up to? in fact, what exactly is he investigating here? or is he simply trying to bully the potential witnesses against him? loretta weinberg is the new jersey state senate majority leader and co-chair of the select committee on investigation. brian murphy is a former political reporter in new jersey who now teaches u.s. history at baruch college in new york. let me go to senator weinberg on this. what did you make that the mayor of ft. lee does not want to turn over his documents or offer testimony to the governor's lawyer, the guy purportedly leading the governor's internal investigation of what happened on the bridge last september? >> you know, chris, what i'll
tell you is that this is almost five months old, if not exactly five months old since those four days of gridlock, of traffic problems beyond comprehension happened. any time during those first couple of one or two or maybe even three months, the governor had plenty of time to try to get to the bottom of this. so he waited apparently too hire a very, very high-priced lawyer to suddenly start asking questions. well, my question is where is has the governor been for the last five months? he had plenty of time without an intermediary lawyer that they're paying $650 an hour for. he had plenty of time to just find out on his own. and he apparently, as recently as january was still clinging to the traffic study story.
i've been involved with this certainly since late september, early october. any time the governor wanted to know what was going on, all he had to do was ask. >> why do you think the governor -- this isn't so much a legal question as a political question. maybe a legal question. it may well be. but to me it's interesting. he made a point in the january 9th press conference after all this came out about the e-mails and bridget kelly's involvement, wildstein's involvement, baroni and stepien, and they all had to go by then. half of them were already gone by then. he came out and said i only talked to two people in my office. they're the only people i talked to. that's o'dowd and mckenna, my lawyer and my chief of staff. why do you think he is segregated if to use maybe the wrong term here, but to segregate himself away from all the people he might have dealt with, talked with, met. why does he act like he has nothing to do with his own governorship, that he only talks to two people on this planet. what is that all about? is that legal protection, political protection? is that the game here? because it is a game.
>> i think it's better put to the governor himself. he's got an inner office staff. and certainly some of these people are deputy chiefs of staff. so i don't know why he only talks to two people in his office. but he seems to be very good at big press conferences, at town hall meetings and so on. so i don't know why he chooses to only talk to two staff members. i think that's a question that is much better put directly to the governor. >> brian, let me put it to you in studying this operation. because we're going to look at this guy. by the time we're done with this case in the next few months, maybe six months or more, we're going know how he operates. we'll have a design of his office. we're going know who he talks to, all the people who testify, they're going to be coming up. this guy has isolated himself and said don't blame me for what bridget kelly did, don't blame me for stepien, don't blame me for wildstein. i may have appointed all these people.
i don't talk to these people. i don't know wildstein. he was a geek in high school and i was a big shot. this constant ever that i don't know anybody, talked with anybody, be anybody, and now he is sending hi lawyer around to these people, basically waking them up in bed. give us all your papers. give me everything you're going to say in court. well, that seems to be playing offense. what do you make of it? >> that's right. it does. and it's curious from the standpoint of this lawyer was hired and is currently being paid by the taxpayers of the state of new jersey. >> good. isn't that great? >> to conduct an internal investigation into what went wrong in the governor's office. and so far from what we can tell on the outside, they're looking into what happened after all these events that led up to whatever went wrong. they're going -- they're looking into the two mayors. i think, i mean, my own view is that this is -- this looks like
witness intimidation to me, because this has been a very mayor-driven story. it's been the mayor of hoboken came out after the mayor of ft. lee had a story to tell. and maybe, you know, the concern is that there are other mayors who might have a story to tell. and we want to find out what the contacts with journalists have been like, which seems completely irrelevant to me. as someone who i'm trying to figure out happened here. filing open public records requests on contacts with journalists would be like the last thing that i would be look at if i actually wanted to find out what happened. >> they're out looking at that stuff? you mean christie's guys. >> sure. >> let me get back to this question. as i said earlier, ft. lee mayor sokolich will not cooperate with christie's lawyers, as i just said. that's the news tonight. you can see the mayor's spine stiffening earlier in the story when he was the target of disparaging comments from christie appointee david wildstein. let's watch that, which is
pre-david wildstein who since resigned saying it will be a tough november for this little serbian. got a response to that? >> david wildstein deserves an ass-kicking, okay? sorry. there, i said it. >> okay. let me go to senator weinberg. i know you don't use that language. let's go to this question here. >> how do you know that? you didn't ask me. >> i'm just being a gentleman, and you're a lady, so let's go on. it seems to me there are three or four people trying to figure out what is going on. the u.s. attorney in new jersey, maybe the u.s. attorney in new york. you certainly have your investigating team, and then you would say this questionable self-investigation by christie. my question to you. are you getting cooperation from these people, from the mayor of ft. lee, the mayor of hoboken, the people who are holding out against christie? are they holding out for the benefit of you guys on the investigative committee so you guys get the stuff before christie's people get at it? >> i can't speak for the mayor of hoboken because i have not been in contact with her, nor to my knowledge has our committee
reached out to her. but certainly bridgegate, which is slightly different from the issues brought up in hoboken, the bridge issue directly affects the mayor of ft. lee. and i've been in touch with him for a very long time on the phone, having discussions about what took place here. the fact that they would reach out to the mayor of ft. lee five months after this happened, the governor had plenty of time when this was first publicized. if he didn't know about it in early september, it was -- i mean, in mid- to late september, it was certainly in the press often enough. but by october 1, that infamous e-mail from the executive director of the port authority, patrick foye, who called this whole lane closure almost illegal in his e-mail, what has the governor done since october
1? he had to hire a high-priced lawyer. he fired somebody from his office and publicly claimed he never asked her what happened. i find that a little difficult to believe if i just put my own intuitiveness, would i fire somebody from my office over some alleged incident and not ask them what their side of the story is? this whole thing is the governor evading his responsibility and to have hired an attorney to go and ask these questions when he could have asked them four months ago, or three months ago or two months ago. i find it very inappropriate. >> my blockbuster question is when is governor cuomo going to come out and tell what's happened in that conversation with governor christie? >> well, that's another interesting question. >> no, it's a fascinating thing. you're right, senator. he called up and said call off the dogs. call off patrick foye. stop the investigation in its tracks, immediately, in its beginnings.
then he wasn't interested in getting the truth. he was interested in making sure nobody got it. why would he call the governor of new york to say tell your guy, patrick foye to lay off the investigation of this thing. and now he comes out saying i'm trying to investigate it. now he wants something else. i don't think it's the truth. senator weinberg, it's great to have you on the program. loretta weinberg is very much a part of this investigation. brian murphy, thank you. who was out there every day talking down the economy? they shut down the government. they're out there playing debbie downer on health care. these republicans aren't the do-nothing congress. they're the do worse congress. it's about time the democrats called them on it instead of crying. plus, the democratic party is moving left, but not as much as the republican party has already moved right. but they're ready to nominate, the democrats are, a classic centrist. my question tonight, is hillary clinton the last great uniter of the democratic party? also, the party of the super rich.
how the big money republican masters of the universe plan to use their money to create superpacs and bend the country's politics to their will. talk about economic inequality. talk about the koch brothers there is a lot of them out there now. talking about political inequality. finally, let me finish tonight with a future where money talks. democracy walks. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ [ male announcer ] rocky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. with 2x the meat of other leading brands... ...to help keep rocky's body as strong as a love that never fades. iams. keep love strong. with 2x the meat. love the iams difference or your money back. [poof!] [beep]
[clicks mouse] nice office. how you doing? good. automatic discounts the moment you sign up. 2014 is likely to be a very tough year for democrats. but they have regained a small lead in what is called the generic. according to the "the huffington post" trend line, when you combine the recent polls, democrats lead republicans by three points, 44-41. and look back at this. back in october after the government shutdown, democrats had a seven-point lead. then came the health care website roll-out which put republicans on top by about a point in december. now the democrats are back with a small lead. they'll need a bigger one to keep congress or to keep the senate.
welcome back to "hardball." remember what the republicans in congress propose, freezing domestic spending, austerity. that was their plan. even conservative columnist david brooks called that plan insane, because it hasn't worked anywhere else in the world. today the same guys whose policy got us into the economic mess of five years ago in the first place and then offered nothing to help us get out of except austerity, now we're getting their verdicts on the president's economic actions of the last five years. john boehner said, quote, the stimulus has turned out to be a classic case of big promises and big spending with little results, accept the stock market is up 10,000 points. marco rubio said it clearly failed. let's watch him. >> five years later, underemployment is still too high. the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding. unemployment remains stubbornly high. and our economy isn't growing
fast enough. proof that massive government spending, particularly debt spending is not the solution to our economic growth problems. >> well, ted cruz tweeted, quote, well, five years in, it looks like president obama's stimulus did actually create jobs. unfortunately, they're all in the irs and nsa. what a cute guy he is. and mitch mcconnell wrote, five years later the stimulus is no success to celebrate. it's a tragedy to lament. a tragedy. 40 straight months of job growth. the stock market has gone from 6,000 to 16,000. and the economy has grown 11 straight quarters. well, the stimulus didn't hurt the economy. the real political drain in the economy has come from republicans on capitol hill, shutting down the government. threatening to default on our debt. that cost billions. they're worse than do nothing. they're a do worse congress. joining me is dana milbank from "the washington post" and michelle bernard. michelle, i want to start with you because i have no idea what you're going to say.
but i just want to say what i don't understand is this. if we had had an explosion in wealth, which isn't necessarily well distributed, we know that, like we've had in the last five years with the stock market, the dow, which is good for everybody with a 401(k) who is watching has gone from 6,000 up to 16,000 and may still be climbing. the republicans would be jubilation, they'd be going crazy. they'd say this is proof of everything we have ever said. and yet they sit there and say this has been a terrible five years. unemployment is down to 6.6. i know things aren't swell, but they're trashing obama -- what was the republican plan to deal with the fiscal and financial crisis that he inherited as president? that he walked into? >> that was the big question. in 2008, the economy was a in a massive free fall. it was absolutely pathetic. most of the people on the republican side had big stimulus plans. mitt romney was larger than what president obama signed into office in 2009.
but since that time period, we haven't heard anything other than, no, no, no, no, no. and let's vote against obamacare. no real jobs bill. no real anything that is going to stimulate the economy. i think part of the problem is calling it the american recovery act or the stimulus package. it should have been looked at as a massive investment bill, a massive investment package. exactly. >> they had a stimulus plan, and it's called europe. so if you look -- >> what has been going on? give us a comparison. >> the republicans were saying you got to clamp down on the debt and rein in -- >> that's what they did in greece. >> exactly. >> that's what happened in europe. now look, growth is not spectacular in the united states. it's a heck of a lot better than -- >> germany is less than 1%. we're up to 3. >> we've seen what the republicans were suggesting at the time. and now they're suggesting, well, if only the president had come and spoken to us about it. well, actually, he did come and speak to them about it. and john boehner got up before the president even arrived on capitol hill and said i want you republicans to vote against it.
>> let me ask you a political question. why don't the democrats attack republicans that do worse in congress? they've got a 72% negative approval rating for the republicans in the congress. why do they run scared? why do they act like oh my god, the republicans are coming at us. the republicans are laughed at. they're jokes. and yet oh, we got to hold on to the senate. we have to hold on to the house. they're playing completely different defensive. >> i don't understand it. you have midterm elections coming literally right around the corner, and there is so much good to be said about what has happened over the last two years. in so many districts around the country, unemployment in the african american community was skyrocketing. it's not where it should be, but it has gone down. people are going back to work. we saw this epidemic -- >> despite the fact the republican bankers out there and businessmen sitting on $2 trillion still waiting for their time to come. >> well, they should be beating the drum on dodd/frank. morning, noon and night on dodd/frank.
>> get this. mr. obama didn't work with republicans. that's his charge. they didn't play ball with them under no plan. the real tragedy mitch mcconnell is saying here is none of this was necessary. republicans have always been willing to work with the president on reforms that would have been broad bipartisan support. and we believe a far better impact on the lives and livelihoods of ordinary americans, things like paring back regulations, tapping into vast energy source through projects like the keystone pipeline and putting the nation's finances on a more solid footing. he is basically saying if the president would sign up for the republican party, become a tax paying duce member paying of the republican party somewhere in chicago, he would be okay. >> right. even by the low standards for honesty in washington, that op-ed by mcconnell was extraordinary. >> i remember. when the president was trying to do a bipartisan health care bill. >> yeah. >> and they were struggling to keep mike enzi on the team and orrin hatch and baucus was doing his best, trying to make this bipartisan. one by one they jumped because they were afraid what was going to happen to them what happened
to bob bennett throughout. they were afraid the right wing would knock them off if they did anything with the president. >> and the economic -- they lined up and said it was blind opposition before they could even -- >> everything bipartisan, everything they tried to do has failed. it's what got us the sequester. remember the grand bargain? simpson/bowles. >> who made the decision the day the president was inaugurated that they would do no business with him and their number ambition would be to destroy his presidency. who was that guy? was that mitch mcconnell? wasn't that the same guy? >> i think it was rush limbaugh also. >> the very same guy who said if he had only cooperated with us. >> absolutely. >> part of the problem is the president is not hitting them with the sort of things you're talking about. he steps back and says well, we've created x million job years. >> i tried to talk him into being me.
i'm sure he is watching. do it like i do it. >> it's not just this president. the democrats seem to play by these marquee of queensbury rules. >> no, they play defense. >> exactly. if you're explaining in politics, you're losing. why are they not going on the offense and saying these guys drove us into the ditch. they want to drive us back into the ditch. >> it was the bush economy. it was the bush economy that he walked into. the economy was in free-for-all. and we should be calling this the long slump rather than anything else. >> rather than whining and complaining about the other party, i just believe in attacking. >> well, and telling the truth. >> and having fun doing it. i think you have a lot more fun attacking than playing defense. they're going to lose if they play defense. thank you, dana milbank. your satire is rich and pertinent. michelle, it's great to have you on. michelle bernard. up next, what happens when you bet against jimmy fallon? well, i think you lose. this is "hardball," the place for politics. i'm sinora and this is my son, chris.
i'm a messy person. i don't like cleaning. i love my son, but he never cleans up. always leaves a trail of crumbs behind. you're going to have a problem with getting a wife. uh, yeah, i guess. [ laughs ] this is ridiculous. christopher glenn! [ doorbell rings ] what is that? swiffer sweep & trap. i think i can use this. it picks up everything. i like this. that's a lot of dirt. it's that easy! good job chris! i think a woman will probably come your way. [ both laugh ]
can't believe this is happening. i'm really sitting here. i want to say thanks to all the fans for all their support. and to my buddy who said i would never be the host of "the tonight show," and you know who you, are you owe me $100, buddy. you do. we do have a great show tonight. [ cheering ] >> time for the sideshow. jimmy fallon's first night with "the tonight show" last night. and you saw robert de niro there. but there were many other celebrities who purportedly had to pay off their bet because they lost it. from rudy giuliani to joan rivers to mike tyson. there they are, others who said they paid host. the best cameo, however, was steve colbert who had a more passive aggressive way of paying fallon the $100.
[ laughter ] >> welcome to 11:30 [ bleep ]! >> that's right. they're on the same time. it look likes a new rivalry. next up, kevin spacey may play a politician on "house of cards," but he is no stranger to real life politics. he is close friends with former president clinton. >> you're still buddies with president clinton, aren't you? >> yes. >> and do you do that when you're around him? >> oh, he loves it. >> in terms of just a guy, casual exchange of conversation, what is that? >> oh, he absolutely, look. if you get into a serious
conversation about an issue that he cares about, yeah, absolutely. he can be quite serious. but he loves to play cards. >> hearts? >> oh, yeah. and i think somewhere along the way, he must have taken a pill that says i don't go to bed until there is no one left to talk to. >> that's pretty good. up next, why hillary clinton needs to be a uniter. and she sure can be, not a divider. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
welcome back to "hardball." in the post barack obama era, that's coming next, the next leader of the democratic party faces the challenge of blending a newly energized populist wing of the party that's on the left with the more traditional establishment party close to the center. democrats are already united on cultural and social issues like gay marriage pretty much. but policies exist on how populism in the party should move when it comes to issues like income inequality, trade issues like nafta, taxing, how much to tax the rich. co-founder of the progressive
campaign committee adam green told "the washington post" the other day, quote, the elizabeth warren wing really believes in challenging the current state of who has power and who has influence. but andrew stern of the sciu cautioned liberals saying it's really not helpful for the democrats to turn this into an attack on the 1%. i don't think it's in the democratic spirit as republicans attack immigration, we attack rich people? if you learned anything from the president, selling hope is better than selling hate. one-trick ponies who left the far left or the political center won't cut it. hillary clinton is the only 2016 candidate i think can unite liberals and moderates and main street and moderates under one big roof. joan walsh is with salon and an msnbc contributor and matt bennett. joan, i want you to use your imagination, because i know you've got one. think about how ronald reagan, who was a man, when he came into the presidency, seen as a man of the right, clearly.
he moved. he was a bit more center right. but key thing was when he left office, for whatever reason, the suburban moderate republican, the hard right out west guy and the deep south dixiecrat type, they all like reagan. so his leadership somehow got them all subsumed under one tent. >> right. >> i think hillary clinton can do the same with the democratic populist wing, that is more associated now with issues like elizabeth warren's issues and maybe howard dean's in the past. but will follow her because she is credible and trustworthy, even if she is a bit more to the center than they are. your thoughts. >> well, look, i think it's too early to anoint her, but i basically agree with you, chris. some writers, both in the center and on the left have exaggerate the extent to which hillary clinton is out of step with the populist wing. i supported her in 2008, and i personally thought he was a tiny bit, just a little smidge more progressive than senator obama. she supported a mortgage for closure moratorium, for example, which was controversial. i thought her health plan was
more progressive. we still need to see where candidate clinton, if she runs how she comes out and addresses this changed democratic party. i do want to say, though, i like andy stern, but i was really disappointed to hear that quote. it sounds like tom perkins. you can say that the top 1% has maybe a little too much wealth, a little too much power, and maybe they could pay higher taxes without hating them or demonizing them. i think that's a caricature of elizabeth warren, of bill de blasio, of mayor de blasio, of people like myself. and i don't think it's helpful for democrats to engage in that. your thoughts. >> i couldn't agree more. it isn't helpful for democrats to engage in that kind of name-calling. >> are you agreeing with her, with joan? joan disagrees. she disagrees with what andy stern said. she thinks it's important to be populist. and to talk about income inequality and go after the vast difference between the top and the bottom in the middle. do you agree with her on that? >> no. i agreed with andy stern. i think fundamentally, politics has to be about the future and it has to be optimistic.
and that's what andy stern was talking about in that quote. every time democrats have offered up candidates that are truly about the future, offering a hopeful, optimistic growth-oriented set of messages, we win. when we don't, we tend to lose. so i think if hillary goes that direction, or whoever the nominee -- >> let's take something that is easy for everybody to understand. back in the '90s, bill clinton i thought had the guts to come out for nafta. at the it wasn't popular with labor, but he thought a global market made more sense. we could certainly compete with mexico. we'd be benefitting with trade with them. is hillary clinton more to the left than the former president on trade issues? will she come out against nafta? joan? i think she is going to stay closer to the center and not be that radically anti-trade. your thoughts. >> now it's ancient history, right? during the 2008 campaign, she was open to talking about modifications to nafta. at the you know, she was very close to labor unions. so i really -- i don't know what she said about the new agreements. i don't know where she stands yet. but i think, you know, in terms of matt, i want to say one nice
thing about the democratic leadership council and the third way style of politics. i think in the '80s and '90s they brought an approach to the democratic party that said look, you guys, you have to be about growth. you have to be about economic growth. you can't only be about distribution, only about raising tax. i think that was positive. >> okay. >> but that was then and this is now. we really do need a new -- our future looking people are going to be people who are dealing with income inequality. and are wondering whether our tax code is really -- can really do the things we need to it do when we need things like universal pre-k. that's what the future is about. >> everybody is for universal pre-k. how do you pay for it is the issue. >> well, yeah. >> here is my question. do you think elizabeth warren could be elected president of the united states? joan? let's talk politics for a second here. do you think howard dean could? do you think de blasio could be running statewide new york? do you think de blasio could win statewide new york? >> i don't know. it's too early. >> how come you don't know? what doe you mean you don't know?
what do you think? do you think he could win statewide? >> i think he could conceivably. >> see, i don't think so. >> i'm from syracuse, new york. >> i'm trying to talk practical politics here. let's look at these numbers and put this in perspective. >> we've never seen an elizabeth warren or a bill de blasio have to deal with more moderate or even conservative segments, you know. >> right. >> i'd like to see them up to the challenge. i can't say for sure that they are. but you guys can't say for sure they're not. >> let me tell you this. let me tell you my history of this. >> okay. >> massachusetts is a terrible place to call a laboratory for the country. the caucus can do swimmingly in massachusetts. teddy kennedy, swimmingly. you get outside of that state, you get into another world. new york city has never produced -- just a minute -- has never produced presidential figures. nobody has ever been mayor of new york and then president of the united states that i know of. >> maybe we haven't had the right person yet. >> that's possible. let's look at these numbers. i'm trying to be positive here. >> all right. >> the gallup poll reports 43% of democrats. so the party is certainly moving
a bit to the left. put this in perspective compared to the republican party, which is 70%. but the recent "washington post" poll also said that hillary clinton has a surplus of trust from liberals that far exceeds her natural base. look at this. among democrats, 74% of liberals, men, nonwhite, those with college degrees all back hillary. look at this same poll among democrats. 73% of democrats, women. men are one point above women in supporting hillary. so what i'm trying to do here is not argue with you, joan. but to make a case which is that hillary clinton has the unique ability in this history right now, i'm going to let matt do this, to unite the moderates and the liberals of the democratic party. >> i don't know if it's unique. >> i don't know who else can do it. >> there may be somebody else. you never know. we didn't know that barack obama would emerge in that cycle either. there may well be some lead they're steps forward if she doesn't run or she stumbles. i think you're exactly right. if she does run, she can unite all the wings of the party.
the great things about democrats is we argue, we don't go to war like republicans have. but let me go back to the point you were making. i do not think people -- i don't think that message plays nationally. >> what is that? what message? >> the populist message. >> define it? is it screw the rich or we're concerned about income inequality? how do you define it? >> it's us against you. it's not positive and forward looking. it's victim oriented. >> how do you pass a progressive income tax -- no, is it progressive income tax in your definition populist? >> no. >> well, we're going to have to have one. we don't have one now. >> we absolutely -- hold on a second. we absolutely do need to raise taxes on the wealthy. every democrat agrees with that the question is how are we framing it. and that's what andy stern was talking about that and he was right about that. when we tried pop living room, every 15 years way try this. i was there in 2004 when it was the people against the powerful. >> al gore won. >> i was aware of, that joan.
i was there. in the end, he didn't become president. if we try it again 15 years later, we're going to have the same result. >> we're not trying it again, matt. it's a really updated message for a changed time. no one is saying we should run george mcgovern again. no one is saying we would resort to slogans of the '60s or '70s or even '80s. we are saying we need a different approach to politics to really deal with the problems that we have in our country. and, you know, the fact that the democratic party got so close to wall street means that we're not having debates about the carried interest rule. we're not talking even the buffett rule anymore. i can't believe how much we have reneged from where we were maybe a year and a half ago. the president still talks a populist line, but he has taken income tax rates off the table. we're still not at the clinton tax rates you. guys love bill clinton. we don't even have his tax rates back. >> let's find the unity. one thing the democratic party has gotten united on, joan and i agree on this i'm pretty sure, this aversion to stupid wars. >> yes. >> the republican party is still the hawk party. it just.
and the democratic party has really diminished the influence of the hawks in this party, the democratic party, i believe. do you agree? >> yeah. >> you're fighting this? you're fighting it, aren't you. >> well, look. >> as a democratic party a less hawkish party than it was ten years ago? >> stupid wars, but i think they're very internationalist. >> nothing wrong with being internationalist. the question of why did we go to iraq? >> iraq was idiotic. and every democrat agrees with that. >> they didn't at the time. i think joan and i and barack obama were the ones that didn't. and we were right. >> thank you. >> and i worry we're not making the best possible effort to avoid one in iran. and i worry about people who don't make the best possible effort. joan, thank you. because i know where you stand and i often stand with you. >> matt, thank you. a noble fight here. we'll have more of the moderate versus the liberal wing of the democratic party. this is "hardball," the place for politics. my mother and my grandmother are very old fashioned.
[ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah. democrats say raising the minimum wage will help the economy. republicans say it will hurt. today both got some ammunition from the nonpartisan congressional budget office. the cbo reported that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would cost jobs. but the cbo also said it would lift 900,000 people out of poverty. raising the minimum wage is widely popular, and democrats hope to use that to their advantage in the 2014 midterm elections.
we're back. in the four years since the citizens united decision, we've seen how unlimited political spending, cash, can empower the few over the many. allowing the some 400-plus billionaires to leverage their enormous wealth to boost or destroy any candidate who stands in the way of their own political agenda. how growing income inequality translates into the political clout for the mega rich and some are mobilizing in advance of the 2014 elections this november. republican billionaire paul singer organizing a group of well known gop donors behind his new group the american opportunity alliance which
according to politico appears to represent a new center of gravity in the world of gop money. singer's cohorts include power players like charles schwab and joe ricketts who infamously supported using reverend jeremiah wright as a centerpiece of a campaign ad in 2012. november midterms approach, we're sure to see the group and others flex political muscle in states with vulnerable candidates. with us now, josh green, senior political ed tore at bloomberg business week, and chris cillizza from the "washington post".com. also an msnbc contributor. gentlemen, thank you. what i watched today in the papers, looked at it, wait a minute, we talk about income inequality. billionaires. the difference between the guy making billions, so much extra money, can't even be given to his kids. and then you've got people who are struggling at $40,000 a year or whatever and barely able to pay -- they don't think about paying off college until they're 40 years old.
so these people, this difference, now it gets translated according to the stories today by this guy, paul singer, into taking out a huge amount of money and turning it into political clout. now, are we going to see this now where anybody like a kay hagan in north carolina, or a, oh, a mark pryor in arkansas, two weeks before an election or a month before the election, a zillion dollars comes in and tips the scale? because some fat cat somewhere thought, i'd like to have one more republican senator. >> yeah, i think -- >> is that's what's going to happen? >> what these are are rich pro-business -- singer's a hedge fund guy -- trying to organize their giving. get all on the same page and focus on a handful of races i think that they feel can tip the senate to republicans. one way you do that as we learned from the 2012 election is not to have each one of these billionaires out there firing off his own messages. it's to be consistent with their message and their aim and try to organize ahead of time and that's what they're doing at this conference they're going to have in colorado. >> this reminds me what that fellow, tom perkins said, should have a vote for every one of your dollars basically.
if you're a billionaire, you should have a billion votes. in fact, they're going around, tipping the scale, putting their numb on the scale in races where nobody knew they came. pick anywhere in the country they can strike. under citizens united, throw any amount of money they can into this thing. this is becoming, i will argue, like the country communists accused of us being in the cold war. it will get there. your thoughts. >> we cover superpacs as a huge deal in 2012. all the spending happened in the republican primary, also happened in the general election. i would argue that they are more influential and a bigger story in a midterm election and here's why. $50 million is a vast sum of money. right? but in a presidential election in which barack obama spent $1.2 million, mitt romney raised and spent $1.1 billion. billion with a "b." $15 million, not all that much. $15 million in a house race, you are by far the biggest spender. $50 million in a senate race, you're likely the biggest
spender. i would point out in the interest of fairness, tom steyer, a wealthy guy is out doing environmental around climate change. he has a plant, he wants to seed $50 million and raise from like-minded friends, to josh's point, sort of directed giving. raise another $50 million to spend it on senate races in 2014 on the sort of climate change side of things. i think you're going to see more own more of it. you asked, are we going to see this in last two weeks? i would say we're seeing it now. americans for prosperity, koch brothers group spent millions of dollars against kay hagan already. we're just going to keep seeing it. >> here's that sound i mentioned from tom perkins. he's the guy that suggested maybe the power of your vote should be proportionate to the amount of money you make. this is the kind of attitude i think voters are up against in reality. here he is. >> the tom perkins system is you don't get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes. but what i really think is it should be like a corporation.
you pay $1 million in taxes, you should get 1 million votes. how's that? >> you know, that guy's sober minded. he's of sound mind and body. >> you don't know that. >> he's saying he thinks -- oh, come on. he's at least honest about this. he thinks the more billions you have, the more votes you should have which is a very unbelievable view of things. >> this is one reason why the power of the rich billionaires i think tends to get exaggerated. to spend on a senate race. the message he's going to put into his ads probably isn't going to resonate with ordinary working class people. >> you think he's stupid? >> i don't think he's stupid. he's living on a planet of the 1% where the government is going to bang down his door and take away his millions. i don't think that connects with ordinary -- i think he and his ilk have a very warped view of the world that doesn't necessarily translate into electoral strength. maybe in the hands of a good consultant who can -- >> right. i always wonder if they can find a good lawyer, they can find a
good pr guy. your thoughts, chris -- i'm looking at the senate race like we'll be doing now until november, chris, and i'm looking at the very fragile people up in alaska, for example, the chance of walsh maybe pulling an upset and holding on to that seat in montana. he's elections are going to be down to 1%, 2% if the democrat wins. >> chris, to bolster the point, look at arkansas, louisiana, alaska, montana, south dakota. let's just -- put west virginia in there if you want. those are five very vulnerable democratic seats. none of those five -- you could probably take a week's worth of saturation television in all five of those places and it would be roughly equivalent, maybe, might even be less, than spending a week's worth of tv in the philadelphia media market. >> i agree with the fourth market. >> they're cheap states, too, which means your money goes further which i think, again, i think we focus so much on superpacs. >> we have to go. you're so smart. >> it's more important
country gets money transferred into political power? what happens when the top end of the 1% form themselves into superpacs and start knocking off senators, governors and congressmen they don't like? what happens when the billionaires learn to leverage their economic advantage in the political dominance? the fact is we haven't seen nothing yet. remember how mitt romney used his cash edge to finish off his rivals in 2012. watch how that kind of brazen money, billionaire's money, begins to target those troublesome senators now fighting for their survival in states like north carolina this november, arkansas. all the big boys have to do, as i said, by them i mean the koch brothers and their copycats is check the state polls, look to see who's in trouble, where they are, and throw a huge pile of money into the hands of the challengers. the right wing challengers. this is not democracy. no, it reminds me of what the communists used to say about us in the old days, behind the pretense of democracy and free elections was the power of the rock fellers pulling the strings, working the puppets, getting everything the way they
wanted it. we can laugh at the character who said the other day that the rich should get as many votes as they have money. ask yourself, do you doubt that's precisely the way the billionaires think and are right now trying to get their way? that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today the man who wants to be the next governor of texas, who would govern more people than any republican in the country, who would be the closest thing there is to the president of red america, that man, greg abbott, kicked off the first day of early voting with a texas gubernatorial primaries by doing two events with this guy.